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  • Canada Trip Taught Our Children Gratitude

  • Canada- Rexburg 097Colors exploded from hanging flower pots up and down the historic Victoria, British Columbia street. The warm sea breeze had followed our ferry ride from Port across the Strait of Juan De Fuea to Canada. What a great start to our trip with two of our children and their best friends!

    “Verizon just texted me that my life sucks,” one teenager said sadly.

    I looked at the boy and his companion. Their expresses were more like the sad, forlorn sound from the ferry’s horn than two kids on a pre-going-back-to-school-all-expense-paid-holiday compliments of good old mom and dad.

    “What are you talking about?”

    He read the text out loud: “Welcome to Canada.Dial. Depending on your plan, calls made & received are $0.99/min. texts .20 a piece data while roaming $2.05.

    Let’s consider the ramifications of this unsolicited message.

    Canada- Rexburg 106Number one. I gave them all a lecture about being spoiled and ungrateful. “You don’t need a cell phone every minute. And if I end up paying .20 per text or $.99 per minute, you will be saving your lunch money for a long time to pay me back.”

    Number two. Is Verizon serious? We were less than 40 miles from the U.S. border. Can’t this mega, giant company worth a gazillion dollars (much of which we have personally provided) give us a break?

    Originally, I didn’t think we needed a break. That was before I realized the six of us traveling together were so unorganized we could not reconvene after a bathroom break without the use of electronic devices.

    “I thought we were going to meet by the information booth.”

    “Why didn’t we all just go up by where we were going to get on the boat?”

    “I was hungry so I thought I’d get some of those mini doughnuts. Want one?”

    Back in the “pre-smartphone era” we took little kids to Disneyland and we didn’t get separated, not even once. Granted we hadn’t yet been rendered unorganized and unable to coordinate schedules by using the easily available backup plan, “Just text him and see where he is.”

    We have been using the, “Text her,” plan for so long, we were incapable of devising any other. Still I gave them a lengthy lesson about being grateful for their vacation, their phones, their shoes, refrigeration and a lot of other stuff. I went on for a long time.  I sure they stopped listening long before I was done speaking.

    Their gratitude for food and the cramped little apartment we had rented became evident when in unison the four teenagers looked up from our table at the crab shack and said, “Oh, no.”

    There’s not much else to say when a 60-year-old woman is on the wharf eating from fish and chip plates she dug out of the garbage.

    Gratitude for their phones came later. This man was also somewhere passed 60 but he walked quickly, purposely and energetically all the while having an animated conversation on his phone.

    The phone was a model seldom seen at colleges or high school–a flip phone he had turned into a hands-free device.

    Under the man’s chin, across the hinge of the phone, over the top of the man’s head, tight across his right check and then circling back to the greying, week-old beard was a large rubber band.

    “Oh, ouch,” they said in unison and never complained about cellphones again.